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Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Mayor Sly James is exploring a new program to empower parents of school-aged children.

The Parent Leadership Training Institute is a 20-week program that helps attendees track legislation, analyze data and become involved in public policy on behalf of their kids.

James says highly engaged parents help schools function better, but knowing how to participate isn't always obvious.

Farmers can expect a paycut, thanks mostly to an abundance of corn and soybeans.
File: Kathleen Masterson / Harvest Public Media

This year will be another tight one for farmers, at least if the federal government’s predictions are correct.

Farm income will sink to its lowest point since 2009, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast. The USDA expects net farm income will drop 11.5 percent to $71.5 billion this year, which would mark the third-straight year of falling income.

Flickr/Adam_Procter400

Missouri has been crowing about how the state has kept down tuition increases for undergraduate, in-state students. In April, Gov. Jay Nixon came to UMKC to sign a budget that he said keeps college affordable in Missouri and "within reach for more families."

Turns out, college costs in Missouri are more expensive than advertised, according to a report released Tuesday by  Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway.

KCUR 89.3

It was a rainy night in April in Lawrence, Kansas. 

Liberty Hall was hosting the twelfth stop on Jónsi Birgisson’s solo live experience tour of 2010. During Sigur Ros’ indefinite hiatus, lead singer Birgisson set out to craft an experience all his own.

Corbis / Flickr-CC

Following allegations that two women were sexually assaulted inside their cells at the Jackson County Jail, Kansas City Mayor Sly James says his patience is wearing thin. 

"However, being impatient doesn't solve the problem," James told KCUR's Steve Kraske on Up To Date.   "We have an investigation going, outside council has been hired by the county and we’re hopeful that that investigation will be swift and conclusive and then that the county will take appropriate action." 

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Military installations in Missouri face budget uncertainty, according to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.  McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who sits on the Armed Services Committee, has been touring bases in across the state this week. She talked with people who maintain B-2 stealth bombers at Whiteman Air Force Base, before making her way to the Honeywell plant in Kansas City, where parts for nuclear weapons are produced. 

She says she’s hearing that uncertainty about the military budget is making it harder to plan ahead.

Courtesy Eddie Moore

Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle
Kings & Queens (Ropeadope Records)

Eddie Moore is diligently pulling Kansas City’s jazz scene into the 21st century. Since moving here from Houston in 2010, the 30-year-old keyboardist has done as much as any jazz-oriented musician to bring Kansas City up to date.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

When 10-year-old Caleb Schwab was killed earlier this month while riding the Verrückt waterslide in Kansas City, Kansas, it turned out that neither the state of Kansas nor the federal government had ever inspected it for safety. The accident has sparked a national debate on amusement park regulation.

Two years ago, there was lots of fanfare when the 17-story Verrückt went up at Schlitterbahn water park — in part because it seemed so dangerous. A video broadcast on Good Morning America showed test rafts with sandbag dummies sailing off an early version of the ride. 

Megan Hart

A Saline County, Kansas mom has a message for state officials wrestling with a difficult budget: Leave an autism diagnosis program alone.

Allison, who wanted to be identified only by her first name to protect her family’s privacy, said a telemedicine program — funded in part by the Kansas Children’s Cabinet —made it easier to find out if autism was behind her 9-year-old son’s behavioral symptoms.

Central Missouri farmer Gary Wenig plans to plant trap crops around his high tunnel in an effort to stop pests from eating his produce.
Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

In an effort to turn away from chemical pesticides, which have the potential to damage the environment, some farmers are looking in a new direction in the age-old, quiet struggle on farm fields of farmers versus pests. They’re warding off intruding insects and noxious weeds with bugs and chickens.

Charlie Parker was born on Aug. 29, 1920. For three years now, Kansas City jazz organizations have marked his birthday week with a Charlie Parker Celebration, trying to increase hometown appreciation for the influential jazz saxophonist.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

At a crowded campaign stop in Clay County, Missouri, on Saturday, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Koster emphasized his opponent Eric Greiten's lack of experience in government. 

"The Republicans have nominated someone who has literally no experience in state government, who actually sort of uses ignorance as his calling card," Koster said. 

He continued by comparing his opponent to Donald Trump and pointing out that his campaign ads, which feature Greitens shooting guns and detonating explosives, is an accurate metaphor for a new faction of Republicans.

Paul Andrews / http://paulandrewsphotography.com/

For Mark Bedell, school was a safe haven.

“It gave me an opportunity to be a kid because I had to be an adult a lot sooner than most kids should have to be an adult,” he told guest host Brian Ellison on Central Standard.

Tyler Koonce / Twitter

Rounds of heavy rain fell Friday evening leading to flash flooding in parts of the Kansas City metro area. Up to six inches fell in just two hours on parts of the city, leaving some downtown and Midtown roads impassable.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency for the immediate downtown Kansas City area. It was the first flash flood emergency ever issued for the Kansas City area by the NWS.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Speaking at a campaign stop in Lee’s Summit Friday, Missouri Republican gubernatorial hopeful Eric Greitens tried to position himself as more qualified than his Democratic opponent to lead on race relations.

“If you’re happy with Ferguson, you can vote for Chris Koster,” Greitens told the packed room. “If you’re happy with what you’re seeing at the University of Missouri, you can vote for Chris Koster.”

One year ago, the Chiefs celebrated the return of veteran safety Eric Berry after his recovery from cancer. But he was conspicuously absent from the annual Chiefs Chamber of Commerce luncheon Friday afternoon.

Berry hasn’t yet signed a contract, but he is set to earn $10.8 million this season, and multiple reports say he’ll return to the Chiefs after Saturday’s pre-season game in Chicago.

U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

A new analysis from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says headlines about anticipated premium increases on the Obamacare health insurance marketplace overlook an important point: Most Americans, including two-thirds of Kansans and three-quarters of Missourians, still will be able to find a plan for $75 a month or less.

Courtesy Two Tone Press

Color is an essential part of the lives of sisters Angie and Michelle Dreher, who run Two Tone Press, a letterpress print shop in midtown Kansas City, Missouri.

But after watching a short video on Facebook, lack of color recognition grabbed their attention.

"It's like, maybe, a 2-minute video. But I was like crying," says Angie Dreher, who watched the video as people tried on EnChroma glasses. They're designed to boost and improve color vision for those who are color blind. 

Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

In May, the Kansas City Council abandoned plans for a new airport — at least, for the time being.

So for now, airport officials are making small changes to improve travelers' experiences, though they still face challenges with the current design.

Pat Klein, director of the Kansas City Aviation department, says the improvements will be worth the investment, even if the city does move forward with a new terminal in the next few years. 

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Talk of Missouri being in play as a presidential swing state this year is also being taken seriously with down-ticket state races.

FiveThirtyEight, the popular site of statistical stories, says polling showing Hillary Clinton within just two points of Donald Trump may make Missouri one of the states swinging from red to blue this year.

David Shane / Flickr-CC

A loophole in Missouri's criminal code means most stealing cases are no longer felonies. 

On Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court reduced multiple felonies for a woman convicted of stealing firearms to misdemeanors, citing vague language written into the state's criminal code in 2002. 

The court looked at the case of Amanda Bazell, who was convicted of felony stealing. Her lawyer noticed that the language in the criminal code that designates stealing offenses as felonies was unclear.  The court agreed. 

Here's what the court's opinion states:

Pixabay / CC

Much in this life is about getting it and keeping it together.

Well, I’m no anarchist – contrary to what a biased babysitter or two may have reported back in the day. But it’s clear to me that if you don’t let it go every once in a while, you might blow. And who wants to spend the weekend cleaning up that mess?

Thank goodness for timely opportunities to be at least a little carefree. You know, just a smidge. Aw, c’mon, the babysitter’s not even looking.

1. Rhythm ’N Balloons Festival

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

 

Familiar sounds filled the air at Blue Valley Northwest High School’s first football practice of the year.

Rock music playing over the sound system. Whistles blaring. Coaches yelling instructions.

But one sound wasn’t present: helmets colliding.

That’s because the Kansas State High School Athletic Association, or KSHSAA, approved new rules last year limiting full-contact football practice.

Rendering courtesy of BNIM

Over the last year, the debate over how much of a tax break the city should give developers for local projects has been heated. 

On Wednesday, the Kansas City Council for the first time heard public comment on an ordinance to reform tax incentive development policy that's been in the works for months. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The last time the New Madrid fault really shook, Missouri wasn’t a state yet. It wasn’t even a territory. President James Madison was in the White House.

And he thought someone was trying to break in.

“When we had this event in 1811, it was strong enough to make the Mississippi River run backwards,” says Jackson County Emergency Manager Mike Curry. “It rang church bells in Boston, Massachusetts.”

Courtesy Soul Revival

Soul Revival is a Kansas City-based R&B band led by vocalist Derek Cunigan and keyboardist Desmond Mason, which has just released its debut single, “If You Ask Me Again (I Do).”

3 reasons we're listening to Soul Revival this week:

1. “If You Ask Me Again (I Do)” is a strong contender for best locally released song of 2016. It's a lovely affirmation of love written by Cunigan, whose delicate vocals evoke Luther Vandross. Mason is responsible for the silky arrangement.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The postmortem on the primary election in Kansas is still going on. How did moderates oust so many incumbent conservatives?

One big reason is the unexpected emergence of a couple of grassroots education groups in Johnson County, especially one that sprang up just a few months ago.

On primary election night, Johnson County Republicans were gathered at the Marriott, their traditional place.

One by one, moderates picked off conservative seats in the Kansas House and Senate.

And in one corner, a group of moms was a little giddy.

Pexels / CC

Twenty small businesses are finalists for $500,000 in public-private grant money to help the metro area nurture its tech and entrepreneurial environment.

LaunchKC, part of the city's economic development effort, will select 10 of the 20 finalists during Techweek in September.

Agriculture and health technology companies are heavily represented among the winners in the contest - only in it's second year.

Anna Sturla / KCUR 89.3

Leeds Cemetery doesn’t look like a typical cemetery. A couple of miles from the Truman Sports Complex in Kansas City, Missouri, it has no headstones and no green lawns. It's just an empty field filled with dry grass and Queen Anne’s lace.

 

For more than half of the 20th century, though, this was Kansas City’s "potter’s field," or final resting place for the city’s unclaimed bodies — those too poor for a proper burial.

 

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

The director of one of the state’s largest community mental health centers says the head of the agency that oversees the behavioral health system appears to be making an effort to repair damaged relations with providers.

But he says Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary Tim Keck has his work cut out for him.

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